Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wally Schirra, 1923-2007

I grew up watching the space program and remember the first walk on the moon. I was nine.
Wally Shirra was a name I heard a lot. I took it for granted that I would hear his name any time a rocket went into space. He has not crossed my mind in years.

Wally Shirra is an American icon, a true American Hero. He did his job quietly and with a sense of humor. When he was done he continued his quiet successful life. In an age of media hounds I miss the likes of Wally. We could all learn from this fine man. It never occurred to me that I would notice his passing, much less feel sad to have lost him.

From Wikipedia:

On April 2, 1959, Schirra was chosen as one of the original seven American astronauts. He entered Project Mercury and was assigned the specialty area involving life support systems.
October 3, 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space, piloting the Mercury 8 (Sigma 7) on a six-orbit mission lasting 9 hours, 13 minutes, and 11 seconds. The capsule attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour and an altitude of 175 statute miles, and landed within four miles of the main Pacific Ocean recovery ship.

March 10, 1966: Wally Schirra is presented with the Philippine Air Force Aviation Badge by Imelda Marcos as Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, watches. Schirra is also wearing the Philippines' Legion of Honor, presented in a ceremony at the Malacañang Palace in Manila.

December 15, 1965, Schirra flew into space a second time in Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford, rendezvousing with astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell, Jr. in Gemini 7. This was the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in earth orbit. The two vehicles, however, were not capable of actually docking. Gemini 6 landed in the Atlantic Ocean the next day, while Gemini 7 continued on to a record-setting 14-day mission.

October 11, 1968, Schirra became the first man to fly in space three times on his final flight as commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo program after a fatal fire during tests of Apollo 1. The three-man crew, including Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham, spent eleven days in earth orbit, performed rendezvous exercises with the upper stage of the Saturn 1-B launch vehicle that rocketed them into space and provided the first live television pictures from inside a U.S. manned spacecraft for which he received an Emmy.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Sad to see a generation pass away...yet we can be inspired by their examples which we have with us.